Cinemaslave #105: Blame It On Batman
The best laid plans, folks. After Cinemaslave host Joe Barlow happened to catch a screening of Columbia Pictures' 1943 Batman film this week, and found himself horrified by its unabashed anti-Japanese sentiment, Joe threw out the planned episode and instead devotes this installment of the 'Slave to a look at cinematic racism. We'll continue the discussion next week, but for now, tip-toe with your host through the minefields of D.W. Griffith and Al Jolson's The Jazz Singer as we explore the effects that outdated prejudices can have on a film's artistic legacy.
January 25, 2014
A Funny Thing Happened on December 7th
You may not have heard about it.
The Japanese launched a sneak attack on the Pearl Harbor Naval Base on the island of Oahu in Hawaii. simultaneously they also attacked the Philippines, Malaya, Singapore, and Hong Kong (the last three were British Possessions).
All of this was done without a Declaration of War.
The war with Japan continued until September 2, 1945 when the Japanese signed the surrender document on board the USS Missouri then anchored in Tokyo Bay (formerly Edo Bay. I just thought fans of Godzilla might enjoy knowing that).
So in 1943 there was a war on. WHEN there is a war Governments have to program their citizens to regard their opponents as "less than human" so that they can kill the enemy with less (immediate) a feeling of guilt. Unfortunately racist attacks and slurs are one way of doing this. The Germans, too, came in for their share of this. And it helps by making people suspicious so that "Fifth Column" activity is usually spotted.
It is a by-product of war but, thankfully, it doesn't last. You'd have to look pretty far, today, to find anyone who hates the Japanese people or the German people just because of their nationality.
No need to make a big hairy thing of it. Even those who FOUGHT in the war put it behind them as soon as the war was over.